Spotlight

Dave Smith

My headlights pierce the night, stabbing beams rending the black slab in this cave of road covered by overhangs of branches eerily etched into the distance.  I pull downshift anticipating the woods’ end and the clearing ahead, a spot bathed in moonglow with two posts guarding the culvert on each side of the blacktop.  Two more gears down to first, each shift answered with the mellow brrummble of twin pipes, the small block annoyed at the slowing, straining to remain unleashed.  Clutch in, I roll to a stop, spotlighted in the silver glitter – the country avenue stretches straight and clear for ¾ of a mile ahead, then sweeps left and sharply veers back to the right around a lonesome outbuilding orphaned long ago when county construction included strange meanders across farm property.  The L-50’s on the back emit a hot rubber invitation accompanied by the erratic race cam rhythm of the motor.  I snug into the bucket, flex my fingers, twist the volume to best amped beat this ’60 Vette’s radio can offer – and just smile.  Revvv, pop the clutch, feel the crunch of acceleration and slight hop as posi-traction lurches me into a reverie of speed.  The fat tires bark with each shift and the dual feed Holly gulps greedily for more fuel, more air —-

And I awake, a Mother’s Day moon glinting behind curtains and twin cats evenly breathing on each side of my head.  Maybe their purr brought the dream, brought the memory of that too long ago adventure repeated with nearly every car I had.  That ‘Vette was my second, replaced my brother’s gift of a ’55 Chevy lead sled, a cool, 4 door sedan with 3 on the tree and overdrive.  I added Offenhauser carbs to the Blue Flame 6…the only ride that didn’t make the ¾ mile night ride that culminated in the drifting left and the 2 gear squeal through the right, then full into the gas before cool down to the stop sign.  Old green never enjoyed the spotlight.  Cars to me never have been “just a means of transportation.”  Each one became a piece of me, became part of my history like a family tree.  I do have a list of them, the details of each like the genealogy of left elbow out the window and right hand gripping the Hurst knob.  Both mom and dad liked cars, little special things about each, like the two-tone paint on their ’54 Chev or the sport coupe, 2 door design of the ’69 Skylark. Guess we all like to spotlight certain things, certain aspects of ourselves that make us feel right with the world.

I reckon this presents pretty much a man-cave think, but to be fair and far more open minded than I once was, girl-caves often times hold cars or motorcycles as well.  The think is, enjoying what we like seems part of God’s plan for us.  We just celebrated the garden walk with a wonderfully presented Spring Tea event. And in the parking lot sat a late 40’s, fully restored Ford ragtop with twin pipes poking out beneath a chrome bumper.  The mingling of joys brings smiles and a sharing, often times an “I never knew that about you!”  Never a better example of the point than one person’s junk being another one’s treasure.  Wouldn’t it be a swell thing for our world if each of use across all the lands could do just that – smile and share, accept and enjoy the difference, the “I never knew…”

We all travel life with a little different engine for our faith.  We think this, we believe that, we pray this way, we worship that way.  Our hearts gear our lives and in the end, we trust the soul of us survives the loss of the body.  In all the changes, for me the one constant lies in the presence of Jesus Christ in my life and the assurance that I will ride His love to heaven.  Now that’s a shining clearing worth pulling into, worth stopping to appreciate.